By Elizabeth

The books are here! We waited nearly 6 months for the phone call that said, “Your books are here, and they’ve cleared customs.” A couple of weeks ago, we helped unload 88 boxes filled with 2,700 books that will fill out the much-needed theological library for Nazarene Theological College—Auckland (NTC-AKL). We started the NTC extension site a year and a half ago aiming to provide accessible Wesleyan Holiness theological education. There wasn’t a classroom, equipment, a library, or students.

April 2018 class for students studying in Samoan

Today, we have a nearly 50 students studying in English and Samoan, a designated space with great video conference equipment, flexible tables and seating, rows of bookshelves… and 88 boxes of books! We owe a huge thanks to MidAmerica Nazarene University, Nazarene Bible College, and some fantastic funding sources that made it possible to send all those books across the ocean.

The next step in the development of NTC-AKL is a fully catalogued, fully functioning library. This is no small feat. This library will combine older books that were already in NZ and several thousand books from the NTC-Brisbane library with the new shipment. Thankfully, my dad is coming to the rescue with his librarian skills. He’s compiling a team of librarians who will catalogue, label, and correctly shelve all of these books in July.

So… if you know of any librarians, consider this a shameless plug! All librarians have to pay their own way, but we’ll house them, show them some really cool stuff, and give them a chance to use their library skills in a really significant and impactful way!

Books are actually pretty challenging to acquire in New Zealand. A kiwi friend told me today that she had ordered a book from bookdepository.com. It’s the UK version of Amazon and it ships for free worldwide. The only cost is time. It can take 2-4 weeks to receive your books. “I feel like it’s colonialism all over again,” my friend said. “Let me wait for the mail coach.”  Books sold here in NZ easily cost at least twice as much, if not more, than the same books sold in the US. That makes the shipment of books we’ve just received all the more valuable to us!

Spoil days with a grandparent (when the parents are away) are Q’s absolute favorite. His week with Grammy did not disappoint.

Sunday evening sunset at the beach

But surely unloading books alone hasn’t kept you occupied for the past month?

Other than books, life has been full with some other exciting things as well (hence, the lack of regularly scheduled posts). Q has been off of school for the past two weeks for Term 1 school holidays. He got to spend a fabulous week of “spoil days” doing science experiments, petting a rhino, and reading books with my mom.  Last week, we were able to visit another pastoral family in the capital city of Wellington, NZ. The 7 hour drive to the bottom of the North Island felt long. I think our American road trip muscles have atrophied! It was well worth it to see our friends, enjoy the famous Te Papa museum, see seals up close in their natural habitats, and visit Rivendell (Any Lord of the Rings fans?).

We had a lot of fun at Te Papa, Wellington’s famous museum!

Seal watching

This is what I call a seal selfie. The seal could not be bothered to pose for the photo.

Quintessential New Zealand. These sheep live happily by the seals.

You can see some other recent work over at The Foundry’s Community blog. The first two parts of a three-part Genesis series I’ve written were recently published here (Our Bodies Matter) and here (Creation Matters). The third one (Women Matter) should be live this week. I suppose they could be considered somewhat controversial, depending on the audience, but I think they are all things we as Christians should be taking seriously.

Parting Shot

Most of New Zealand really is as lush and green and hilly as every picture you’ve ever seen. But then there’s this: the Desert Road, a relatively straight patch of road a few hours south of us that reminds us a whole lot of New Mexico.